Sermons

Summary: Encouraging others seems like a natural activity for Christians, but the Bible tells us to do this dozens of times! Maybe we need a reminder.

ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER

1 Thessalonians 5:11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

Introduction

He had lived a rugged life and a sometimes violent life. When he became a Christian it was almost unbelievable. Walking through the door into a room of church people was a hard experience. Most of them looked at him halfway expecting him to try to hurt them. But one of the Christian men approached him and said, “Welcome Brother Saul.” That man was Barnabas, who had the nickname “son of encouragement”.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

The simple command to “encourage one another” seems like something you wouldn’t have to say. I think if you asked most any Christian if we are to be an encouragement to others, the answer would be a solid YES!

Yet dozens of times the Bible gives the instruction to encourage.

Hebrews 10:25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

2 Corinthians 13:11 Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.

Acts 27:36 Then everyone was encouraged and began to eat…

The Bible gives every Christian the ministry of encouragement because it is needed. There are so many discouraging realities in life that can steal our energy and joy. Many people live with the heavy weight of discouragement - and we all have experienced it.

1. Why Is Discouragement So Powerful?

It is powerful because it relates to our emotions. It is a feeling of being down, or unsuccessful, or a failure, worry, struggle. These feelings can impact our day, our relationships, our jobs.

It is powerful because it relates to how we relate to others. Often we become discouraged when we compare ourselves to others: looks, weight, wealth, education, ability - we should celebrate our differences, not feel inferior to others.

It is powerful because it focuses our attention on areas of unhappiness. We can become chronic complainers - never seeing the good around us because we are groaning about something we think isn’t the way it should be.

It is powerful because it is often anchored to our past mistakes. When we dwell on our mistakes and replay them in our mind, we can become discouraged.

“Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and distrust of the future. It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifference to the opportunities of today, and insecurity regarding strength for tomorrow. It is unawareness of the presence of beauty, unconcern for the needs of our fellow man, and unbelief in the promises of old. It is impatience with time, immaturity of thought, and impoliteness to God.” - William Ward.

No wonder the Bible tells us to “encourage each other and build each other up.” We all need an encourager!

2. God is Our Greatest Encourager

2 Corinthians 7:6 God, who encourages those who are discouraged

He encourages us in the way he knows and loves us. (Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?)

He encourages us with his endless mercy. (Lamentations 3:22-23 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!  His mercies never cease.Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.)

He encourages us with the promise of heaven (Romans 8:18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.)

He encourages us by his grace. (1 Thessalonians 2:16-17 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, 17 comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.)

There are many many promises of God to be found in Scripture. These promises give us hope and help for each day. They also give us an example of how we are to relate to one another.

3. Activate The Ministry of Encouragement in your Life! There is a surplus of discouragement, disappointment, despondency in our world today. Christians are to be lights to the world ... be a light in your world.

How To Be an Influential Force of Encouragement!

1. Practice the art of listening. (James 1:19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.) How powerful is the simple act of listening? This one act alone is a powerful testimony that you care. In our day of ultra-activity, we don't have time for each other anymore. Brent Riggs : “People need other people. The world is full of lonely people. Your church is full of lonely, hurting people. I guarantee it.” "Friends are those rare people who ask how we are then wait to hear the answer.”

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